Ministry warns against dangerous heat wave following 2 coma cases in Vietnam

A 47-year-old man got lethargic after hours working under the burning sun in a rice field in northern Vietnam last Saturday

It was so hot in late May 2015 that the surface of an asphalted road in Vietnam melted.

The Vietnamese health ministry has warned all local health departments and people about the health risks posed by the ongoing scorching weather, after two people fell into a coma due to the extreme heat wave.

>> Scorching weather raging in central Vietnam, with likely max temp of 41°C

In a warning sent to local healthcare authorities on Monday, Deputy Minister of Health Nguyen Thi Xuyen urged them to take measures to cope with diseases that could be caught under the extreme hot weather, such as sunstroke and cerebrovascular accidents.

She also warned that people with cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, bronchial asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, eczema, and burns should be alert to the adverse effects of the hot weather on their conditions.

The warning followed two coma cases caused by sunstroke last Saturday.

At 3:00 pm that day, a 47-year-old man, from the south-central province of Phu Yen, suddenly fell into a coma when he was harvesting paddies in a field in the northern province of Ninh Binh.

Witnesses said he had talked nonsense and showed signs of mental disorder for a dozen minutes before getting lethargic. 

He was taken to Ninh Binh General Hospital for emergency aid before being transferred to Bach Mai Hospital in Hanoi.

His relatives told doctors that he had no special medical history before the coma.

During the two weeks before the incident, the man worked every day under the sizzling sun in rice fields for four to six hours in a row, his family said.

Another victim of the ongoing heat wave on the same day was an 88-year-old woman, Ta Thi Van H., a resident in Hanoi.

While Van was going to the market under the hot sun, she suddenly fell down unconscious, developed a fit of convulsion, and then got into a coma, witnesses said.  

She was brought to Viet Xo Friendship Hospital, where she regained consciousness after being given intensive care, though she was still fatigue.

Doctors said that both victims had got sunstroke, which could lead to fatal condition or cause dangerous complications, especially to the brain.

The longer people work under the baking sun, the higher risk of sunstroke they get, according to Dr. Luong Quoc Chinh from Bach Mai Hospital.

The ongoing heat wave has raged in northern and central regions for about a month, with the highest temperature soaring to over 41 degrees Celsius in some areas, according to the National Center for Hydro-Meteorological Forecasting.

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